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Virginia Tech approves doctorate in translational science

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Virginia Tech is adding a new doctorate program designed to use scientific research to help solve health-care issues.

The Board of Visitors earlier this week approved a doctor of philosophy degree in translational biology, medicine and health. Translational medicine attempts to turn scientific discoveries into new approaches to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases.

“Even with the considerable progress and investment in biomedical research over the past several decades, improvements in health have not kept pace with the promise of science,” Michael Friedlander, associate provost for health sciences at Virginia Tech, said in a statement. “There is a critical need for translational researchers who can accelerate the transformation of fundamental biological discoveries into new approaches to prevent, diagnose, treat, and cure disease.”

The doctoral program would include six focus areas: cancer, development, aging and repair, health implementation science, immunity and infectious disease, metabolism and cardiovascular science, and neuroscience.

The program is expected to start with classes in the fall of 2014, pending approval by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV). Classes will be taught at Virginia Tech’s Blacksburg and Roanoke facilities with some use of interactive videoconferencing capabilities.

“Courses will cover a range of levels of inquiry, from molecules to individuals to populations and policies,” said Friedlander. “The program will offer exciting new opportunities to explore how translational discoveries are adopted, integrated, and applied in health care. Students will also learn to incorporate perspectives on cost, delivery, and policy implementation into their research.”

Virignia Tech faculty from 17 departments in seven colleges and six institutes and centers worked with Friedlander and Program Director Audra Van Wart to develop the curriculu

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